Eastern Partnership Trade Helpdesk Project to Boost Trade between Azerbaijan, the European Union and within EaP
(Geneva/Baku) Companies in Azerbaijan will soon have increased capacity to identify trade opportunities with the European Union and within the Eastern Partnership region as part of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Trade Helpdesk project. On 1 June the International Trade Centre (ITC), in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan and AZPROMO, organised the first stakeholder meeting on the EaP Trade Helpdesk project.
Launched in late 2019, the EaP Trade Helpdesk project is being implemented by ITC, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. It is supported by the European Union as part of its EU4Business initiative. The five-year project aims to boost the economic and trade relations between the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union and within the EaP region. As a result of the project, companies in the EaP countries will have increased access to comprehensive, verified and transparent trade information on the region and the EU through the EaP Trade Helpdesk portal. The online Helpdesk, available via the portal, will allow them to report on the export- and import-related issues and get practical solutions offered by relevant national authorities. In addition, the project will identify regulatory and procedural trade obstacles through national surveys of non-tariff measures, and provide sector-specific guides on exporting to the EU. Relevant national institutions will be better prepared to collect and process trade in services data for selected sectors, while companies and business support organisations will receive customized capacity building on market analysis to identify new opportunities in the region and the EU.
The main goals of the national stakeholder meeting were: to inform participants about the objectives and expected impact of the project; to present ongoing and planned activities in Azerbaijan and to determine synergies with existing national initiatives. The meeting brought together representatives of the Ministries, government agencies, business support organizations, the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan, ITC experts, and specialised educational academies.
Mr. Allahverdi Pashayev, Deputy Head of Apparatus of the Ministry of Economy of Republic of Azerbaijan said: “The European Union is a major trade partner of Azerbaijan. We believe that Trade Helpdesk project will open a new page in cooperation between the Eastern Partnership countries and the European Union, as well as among Eastern Partnership countries and will contribute to the strengthening of mutual relations and support for trade growth and Government’s measures in increasing non-oil export. Activities planned within the project will help to increase the export potential of our country. We are confident that the project will play an important role in strengthening economic ties with the European Union and contribute to trade turnover increase between the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU.”
Ms. Ulviya Abdullayeva, Programme Manager Neighbourhood Cooperation from the EU delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan stated: “Eastern Partnership Trade HelpDesk is an EU4Business project. The project will provide valuable information support to Azerbaijani business for better and easier access to EU market. At the same time, it is important for the authorities to focus more on implementation of the trade and justice related reforms for overall improvement of the business climate in the country.”
Mr. Mondher Mimouni, Chief of Trade and Market Intelligence section at the International Trade Centre noted: “It should be noted that Azerbaijani export potential to the EU is large, almost over 90 million USD according to the ITC estimations. There is in fact similar potential in the Eastern Partnership region for the country – counting up to about 90 million USD, or almost one third of the regional trade growth in the past 10 years. This indicates multitude of possibilities for Azerbaijani small and medium exporters, and we are aiming at helping realise this potential.”
Mr. Tural Hajiyev, Export Promotion Department Director at AZPROMO in his closing remarks concluded: “Online access of local exporters to market information such as tariffs, potential, regulations etc. is one of the main tasks according to the National Export Strategy of Azerbaijan. Trade Helpdesk will cover part of the information gap and help exporters to start exporting to EaP countries or diversify their sales to these countries. We believe that our exporters will gain high results in foreign markets with the joint support of AZPROMO and ITC.”
The EaP Trade Helpdesk portal will provide users with detailed information on trade statistics, export potential data, tariffs, preferential trade agreements, as well as export and import regulations and business contacts. The user-friendly platform will serve as a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan aiming to increase exports to the EU markets.
For more information about the project please contact:
Mr. Paul Kelly, project manager, kelly [at] intracen.org (kelly[at]intracen[dot]org)
Visit the project page on ITC website https://www.intracen.org/EaP/
About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
About EU4Business - EU4Business is an umbrella initiative that includes all EU support to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the Eastern Partnership countries—Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. EU4Business supports SME growth by improving access to finance and business development services, and by promoting better business regulation.
In 2019, 9,198 SMEs were supported through the EU4Business Initiative in Azerbaijan, generating an extra €58.4 million in income and 3,931 new jobs, growing their turnover by 12.2%, and increasing their exports by 3% as a result.
Read more: www.eu4business.az